Scooby Doo and the Gang Illustrate Some Literary Genres: Magical Realism
by John Leary
Seven years from the day the town of Hanna de Barberros was last graced by rain, a group of young strangers drove a Van of Mystery into the town square and disembarked. They were dressed in the clothes of charlatans, of mysterious persons. One was holding an unfolded map, and two of them argued. They told passersby they were on their way to a musical concert of some sorts, and had likely taken a wrong turn. No one gave them much mind - in those days after the revolution, deserters, stragglers, brigands, refugees of every type would take the narrow road that departed from the main road to the capital, the road that led to Hanna de Barberros. In those days many people were hiding or sought to hide.
This day was seven years from the day Dona Cristina's husband, the great Colonel Mauricio, left to lead the revolutionaries in the Battle of the Mountains. Shortly after his departure, while taking her midday meal, la comida, Dona Cristina had hovered in her chair. "Jinkies!" one of the maids had exclaimed, but apart from that, not a word had been spoken of the floating senora. Dona Cristina floated in silence, and only during la comida. Dona Cristina's daughter, Magdelena, had spent each meal since her father's departure sitting at the table with her mother knitting a long silken scarf instead of eating.
The Van of Mystery was parked near the entrance to Dona Cristina's house. Dona Cristina asked that the strangers be brought to her. Three of them came. Their leader, Frederico, was a grave, serious man, his face unmarked yet hiding dark glens of sexual confusion. The woman, Dafina, spent less than a day in the town, and yet generations of women in the town from that day forward would stand among a group of men and place their hand delicately on her hip, slightly tilting their heads, in the way the Senorita Dafina once did. The other woman was, at first, assumed to be a man. No one knew her name, though she spoke with authority and her breath smelled of learnedness and chewing gum.
The fourth stranger declined the invitation, preferring to wander through the town. He was a borracho, a drunk, unshaven in a roughly hewn green shirt, who walked with the arm-swinging shamble of the damned, leading his feral hound through the streets of the town in a feverish search for alcohol.
Dona Cristina received the strangers, who professed to know some very powerful tools against magic. Dona Cristina asked that la comida be served, and soon she was hovering over her chair.
The strangers surrounded Dona Cristina. They looked for a hidden projector, which would broadcast a hologram against the chair where Dona Cristina sat. They searched for wires or strings, which could elevate Dona Cristina. They lifted the large tiles beneath the table, searching for a source for enormous air currents on which she could float. They found nothing.
Still Dona Cristina floated. It is indeed a mystery, the young people agreed.
At the same time, the borracho and his dog, who could approximate human speech, were searching the abandoned church. The prelate who once served the parish in town had sympathized with the federal soldiers, and had been driven from the town. The church was a warren of toppled pews but was otherwise in perfect condition. Back in the sacristy, they found a hidden chamber near the priest's dressing area. The chamber was a place where the priests had once made their sandwiches after mass. They found sandwich material and sacramental wine. The two companions set to work.
The borracho and his dog built an enormous sandwich using the square bread of the region and a variety of smoked meats and cheeses.
At that moment, Colonel Mauricio, wounded and trapped with his starving men in a mountain redoubt, drew his last breath.
The dog distracted the borracho, and grabbed the entire sandwich for himself. As the dog bit into the sandwich, Colonel Mauricio died and Dona Cristina screamed.
"He's dead! He's dead," Dona Cristina said, "I have realized it now; I feel it in my bones." As her guests watched in amazement, she slowly settled down into her chair. She was never to hover again.
Back in the sacristy, the paws of the dog slowly left the ground, as he swallowed the remainder of the sandwich with a grotesque gulping sound.
The teenagers left the town in their Van of Mystery, their dog floating in the air behind them, tethered to the van by Magdelena's enormous scarf. When they turned a bend in the road and passed out of sight, the rain came.
About the author:
John Leary lives in California.